Well, we know the story of the election, now, pretty much. The GOP either held serve or picked up three seats in the Senate. The Dems will win 30 plus in the House, which they pitching as the “biggest Dem flip since Watergate”, which allows them to ignore the much larger GOP blowouts in 1994 and 2010.
But, there were subgroups in play in the election, as well. Specifically, the much-maligned “centrist” Dems, and the “progressive” Dems. The former stand for capitalism, an incremental approach to increasing the regulatory apparatus and taxation, and modest improvements to the social infrastructure; the latter, OTOH, wants to be Europe overnight, with Medicare for All, free college (most of Europe does not have free college, it should be said), substantially higher taxation on ….. well….everybody, a rigid regulatory structure, and impeachment of the sitting President as a bonus to all.
It’s easy, with the progressive spotlight constantly on Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, to assume that the progressives did fine on Tuesday night. But, if you look at AOC’s district demographics, you start to wonder how Joe Crowley held on to it as long as he did. SHE fits the district far more than he.
Fortunately, the Wall Street Journal, bless them, took a look at how the progressives did the other night. It will warm your heart. Some choice tidbits:
First, a little reporting on how much muscle Elizabeth Warren put into the “elect progressives” operation:
Ms. Warren seeded into key races several handpicked progressive protégés, in particular Richard Cordray, former director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (who ran for Ohio governor), and a former law student, Katie Porter (who ran in a California House district). Ms. Warren geared up a shadow war room, built ties with some 150 campaigns, directed millions of fundraising dollars to select candidates, and thereby earned chits. She dispersed staffers to early primary states and crisscrossed the country herself. A week ago she was dominating Ohio headlines at rallies for Mr. Cordray.
And now, some results:
Ms. Porter — who campaigned in Orange County on single-payer health care, expanded Social Security and debt-free college — flamed out to two-term Rep. Mimi Walters. In Ohio, Mr. Cordray lost to Attorney General Mike DeWine. And in Indiana, in what many claimed was the closest of that state’s House races going into the midterm, Republican Rep. Trey Hollingsworth blew out Warren-endorsed Liz Watson, 59% to 41%.
These results reflected a national collapse by progressive candidates.
(We can also add Beto O’Rourke to those “falling short” (aka “losers”). And I will tell you, from studying the numbers prior to the election, that all three of those mentioned above were behind on almost all polls going into the election.
National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar put together a list of nine progressive candidates as a “test” of “lefty strength.” They included gubernatorial candidates Andrew Gillum of Florida and Ben Jealous of Maryland and Leslie Cockburn, who ran in one of Virginia’s most vulnerable Republican congressional districts. They went 0 for 9. Indeed, outside safe Democratic districts, the left-wing movement took a complete bath — including in House races in Nebraska’s Second, New York’s 24th and Pennsylvania’s First districts. Progressive candidates were Democrats’ biggest gift to Republicans Tuesday night.
And for another view:
The center-left think tank Third Way reports its team watched “every one of the 967 ads that Democrats ran in competitive House districts since Labor Day, and just two candidates mentioned either Medicare-for-all or single payer.” Both lost.
So, I think there is good news going into 2020. Nancy Pelosi, who is not stupid, demonstrated in 2006 that she is willing to keep her powder dry on controversial measures, regardless of how much the far left might want them, in order to protect her red-district Dems from having to take hard votes.
Expect her to do the same again. Medicare for All, free college…..are doubtful to be seen on the House floor for a vote. She’ll want to add to her lead, hoping for a Dem Senate and Dem President in 2020, just like she got in 2008.
Then, the Dems will overreach, the GOP will get a House landslide, and the cycle will start all over again. :-)